Search retention rates healthy, but competition remains fierce

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New York—Leaders in search experienced healthy month-over-month visitor retention rates in June and July, but they also experienced significant audience overlap with competitors, according to a report released Thursday by Nielsen//NetRatings.

Search engines had high visitor retention rates among at-work users, with an average of 76% of June business visitors returning in July to at least one of the three leading search engines. Google Search led with a retention rate of 85% of visitors, followed by Yahoo Search at 72% and MSN/Windows Live Search at 70%. Visitor retention rates were slightly higher among the work audience compared with the home audience.

However, search remains highly competitive, as a substantial number of visitors went to more than one of the three search sites in July. MSN/Windows Live Search had the highest audience overlap, with 84% of its unique visitors also going to Google, or Yahoo or both. Yahoo had a 78% overlap with the other two, while Google had a 63% percent audience overlap.

—Carol Krol

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